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Mom Says Facebook Saved Her Son’s Life

Today Show

When you spend hours raising goats in Farmville or clicking through your 8th grade lab partner’s vacation album, it’s easy to forget that Facebook can be much more than an online time-suck.  For one New York mom, the social network turned out to be a lifesaver.

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On Mother’s Day of this year, Deborah Copaken Kogan brought her 4-year-old son Leo to the doctor after he woke up with a rash. She snapped a photo of her son on the exam table, and posted it on Facebook with the caption, “Nothing says Happy Mother's Day quite like a Sunday morning at the pediatrician's." Kogan and the doctor agreed that it seemed like Leo had strep. They took a throat culture and sent him home with a prescription for antibiotics.

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Over the next few days, Leo’s condition grew worse. Kogan posted another photo, this time of Leo’s super-swollen face. Within an hour of posting the photo, Kogan’s online friends left comments urging her to take him the hospital, fearing it was Kawasaki disease, a rare—and potentially fatal—auto-immune disease that affects the arteries throughout the body, including the heart. Her Facebook friends were right.

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“Those Facebook messages were a catalyst. They said to me, ‘Here’s the collective experience of 1,400 people, 3 of whom were telling me it could be Kawasaki disease,” she told the Today show. “The fact these friends on Facebook took a risk and said, “Sorry for butting in, but I think this could be Kawasaki,” is a miracle.”

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Leo underwent weeks of treatment for Kawaskai disease, and, although he suffered some liver damage, is expected to make a full recovery. Check out Leo’s touching story here:

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